On the 31 dec 2009 I blogged about 2009 and I did some prediction for the future.
I would like to extract (literally) part of that entry in order to have an entry of its own:
What can we expect in the next 10 years?
Obviously the hardware will continue to explode. Hard disk, processors, screen technology (LED or something new, ebook readers, tablets), internet speed and connectivity (wimax, 4g)… that will make information easier to access and to share. Now a smartphone has GPS, accelerometers and a lot of sensors. I foresee a step towards this sort of uses: location, using the camera of the phone to take a photo from anything and have image recognition, reviews, who is there, where is cheaper, banking, payments… all!!. Search engines will go one step further and they will have other ways to search than text, photos videos, voice… everything indexable. With my phone I will be able to see where my friends are, what they are drinking, etc… reviews are important. I use internet to review and read reviews of what I buy, the hotels I go (tripadvisor), google, tell me where, etc… so location, location, location.
But not everything are flowers… I think that because Internet is going to be so big, Internet Governance is going to be a big issue. Now the US controls ICANN and a lot of other stuff. Internet Governance is going to be a difficult topic. Also Internet as a human right. ISP (internet providers) will try to get the maximum out of it, by capping, limiting connectivity, filtering content (like in China) and so. If this is the case, Internet could be in danger. It should be a 100% open platform. No restrictions. I hope governments intervene to avoid this sort of issues that we are already starting to see in the US with ISPs. Access to Internet should be unlimited and unrestricted. Government should be careful also not doing like in Finland where they are going to filter content at ISP level… a biiiiig mistake.
Privacy is also going to be an issue, but I guess we will be living in public. There is no problem for me, but privacy should be seriously managed. Specially when companies are outsourcing for instance email to google apps, or google docs and calendars…
Cloud computing will be big, and I don’t know if computers will trend to be more like terminals and run all the programs in the cloud. I do use google docs a lot I must say. Online photo services, backups, etc… I can’t wait to see how it progresses. The combination of cloud computing and terminals with strong browsers with offline technology could be a way. If you think about it, why not log in at any computer/terminal and have your files programs and so? Well this could be achieved with good connectivity and good cloud computing. But again, if this is where we go, we will start to see issues of compatibility and standards. Exporting things from a cloud to a computer or to another cloud… it should be standardized.
But the I wonder… when I bought my fiat 500, I printed out the price I was getting in internet and went to my local Fiat dealer. The salesman was furious. He said he could not compete with that. They have cost of personnel, stocks, training, etc… while the guy in internet buys bulk and gets incredible prices… so it made me think. There is no point in having shops or car dealers. They are simply not competitive with internet. So where is the business? Well, services I guess. Garage to repair. Warehouse to collect parts. Advise… but not in selling goods. I told the guy in Fiat that his business model was condemned to die.
There is another ethical question you could ask yourself. If you could buy cheaper 98% of people would buy cheaper. What about paying extra if it manufactured at home, or uses organic stuff, or is environmentally better? It is a difficult question. Specially for our generation. I hope next generation will think differently. Developed countries can not live from services alone, and the rest is more expensive than to do it abroad. So what to do? Free trade has given a lot of opportunities to developing countries, but we have seen with Doha failure that one size does not fit all. What about free movement of people? Goods and people are not strangers. If I am a farmer in France and all farming goes to … China (just a stupid example), then what happens to the french farmer? Should he go to China? Move to something else? Should we cluster activities wherever they are more productive? I don’t know. That would not be sustainable for the environment. Look at Indonesia, they have destroyed the forest to put palm oil plantations. It is so sad. Al fauna is dead and most of the country is monocorp…. but this is where we are going! Look at the farmers in the US. Maybe it should be studied where the environmental impact is lower and do it there.
If you go to Africa you will see how developed countries have destroyed. We imposed the capitalism there. The richer continent in earth is the poorest. Before people there did not have to work. If they were hungry they would take it from the trees. No effort. Simple and happy life….
The end of it is that we can not avoid to spread wealth with this model, meaning that developed countries will have to lower their living standards, otherwise I don’t see how this is sustainable. Closing borders? Big mistake… Anyway that is whole new story.